December 2020
Let's Spark Some Joy
Welcome to the first issue of Illume's revitalized newsletter, Spark! Read on for the latest Illume updates.
Navigating COVID-19
Since mid-March, Interlibrary Loans (ILL) departments have grappled with managing their library’s ILL services during an unprecedented time. The Illume Administrative Support Centre was well-positioned to serve as a guiding light, with its centralized perspective, deep knowledge of the underpinning technology, and established relationships with partners and software provider Auto-Graphics.

With every unexpected challenge – right from the early days of the pandemic’s appearance in BC – the Illume Support Centre provided front-line assistance, working diligently to respond to each partner inquiry, facilitating province-wide communications, and supporting making temporary closing and re-opening ILL procedures as smooth as possible. Drawing on the network of other Auto-Graphic SHAREit users across North America, the Illume Support Centre kept the service in touch with work and actions taking place in other jurisdictions.

Partner Library Challenge: Temporarily closing borrowing and lending services

Support: The Illume Support Centre developed guides and training videos for libraries on restructuring their Illume services during these temporary closures.

Partner Library Challenge: Developing messaging for patrons on where to go for information

Support: The Illume Support Centre created guidelines and video tutorials for placing informational notices on Illume homepages and supported ILL staff in developing messaging to patrons on how to manage expectations once ILL services resume.

Partner Library Challenge: Turning on requests for non-returnable electronic copies only for post-secondary libraries

Support: The Illume Support Centre provided training and support to help post-secondary libraries close their ILL services for physical items, while optimizing Illume to support requests for non-returnable articles only.

Partner Library Challenge: Resuming borrowing and lending services as public libraries began to re-open

Support: The Illume Support Centre provided continuous support to public libraries during their transition to re-open, including answering questions via email, developing additional guides and training videos, and organizing virtual meetings and training sessions to provide additional one-on-one support to ILL staff.

Throughout this time, the Illume Support Centre has also worked quietly in the background to coordinate bug fixes for the Illume software, including the submission of software enhancement requests to the vendor to address urgent technical issues and glitches. As public and post-secondary libraries continue to navigate these uncertain times, the Illume Support Centre will continue to be here to shed light and provide support as we enter the New Year.
Q&A with Vaughn Postgate about the Union Database Project
The Union Database Project is in full-swing and is on track for completion by early 2021! Illume Support Librarian Vaughn Postgate participated in a question and answer session to explain the project’s significance to the ILL process, as well as current progress updates and what to expect in the near future.

What is the Union Database Cleanup Project?

The goal of the Union Database Cleanup Project is to identify issues in the BC Union Catalogue (BCUC) that cause problems when requesting materials, and to clean up those errors in the records via the submission of new records from participating libraries and through the support of the vendor Auto-Graphics. Currently, many records in the BCUC database contain errors that cause problems for every library when these items are requested. These messy records have an impact on the whole system, and by cleaning them up patrons and staff will face fewer obstacles when processing borrowing and lending requests.

What are the benefits of this project?

ILL staff will benefit from this project in several ways:
  • Improved processes for patrons and staff when searching for and requesting from appropriate item records
  • Improved fulfillment times
  • Improved shelf availability checks
  • Overall streamlined requesting workflows for both patrons and ILL staff

Not only will ILL staff benefit from the above improvements, but patrons will ultimately get their ILL items faster with shorter turn-around times.

What are the latest updates for this project?

The Illume Admin Centre has coordinated closely with the vendor to identify many issues with the BCUC records that have been causing excess clutter and confusion when navigating the SHAREit software. In order to do this, the vendor Auto-Graphics has extracted all of our records multiple times from the BCUC database in order to run scripts on fields identified as confusing for patrons or staff. These fields have been deleted or updated, and the ‘cleaned up’ records restored back into the BCUC.

What can we expect in the future?

The Illume Admin Centre will continue to communicate issues with record uploads and we welcome libraries to submit ongoing errors. Additionally, the Support Centre will survey libraries to identify sites that have updated their catalogue records using RDA. Once this is done, Auto-Graphics will identify sources of “best” Master Records and replace inferior, outdated records. Holdings for all libraries, regardless of record type, will be attached to these “better” improved records. Resources for Open Access electronic journals will also be identified and a process put in place to load updated records to replace outdated sources.
Elimination of ILL Fees - The Work Continues
The BC ELN community continues to move forward with the elimination of ILL fees for non-returnable items between BC ELN partner libraries. Important work has been carried out in this area, and some key updates are shared below.

Finalizing the Illume Benefits & Responsibilities

At the December 2019 All Partner Meeting, BC ELN library directors agreed to eliminate fees for non-returnable items, as long as certain considerations were met. One of these considerations was the development of formalized Illume services expectations. The Illume Benefits & Responsibilities has been created to encompass those system expectations and was presented at the November 27 BC ELN Steering Committee Business Meeting. The Steering Committee approved the document.

Finalizing the Illume Benefits and Responsibilities was a major step in this process, but it is only one activity among many that will support eliminating ILL fees for non-returnable items. In the months to come, the Illume Admin Centre will be sharing Illume best practices, creating FAQs, developing an ILL staff education series, and investigating software enhancements.

Changes to the Assessment Timeline

The second update involves changes to the assessment timeline. As part of the original implementation plan developed in 2019, the activities highlighted above were originally set to be implemented in 2020, with an assessment period set for 2021. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ILL services at all institutions were impacted, and transactions during the last several months were drastically reduced. In turn, BC ELN put much of its work for this initiative on hold. As ILL activities slowly resumed, the BC ELN Office updated the implementation plan and re-engaged in the work. Most of the planned activities will now take place in 2021. As a result, the assessment timeline has been moved to 2022. The BC ELN Steering Committee approved the revised assessment timeline at their November 27 meeting.

As always, updates surrounding the elimination of ILL fees for non-returnables will continue to be shared with partner libraries as we move forward on this initiative together.
Happy Holidays!
We would like to wish our members a warm and happy holiday season. May the holidays bring you joy and a welcome break as we head into the New Year!
The BC Electronic Library Network (BC ELN) hosts and staffs the Illume Administrative Centre.
Questions? Contact the Illume Administrative Centre.